Johnny Depp is expensive.
The people at Disney have clued in to the fact that paying an ageing movie star almost a hundred million dollars to play a character who is basically comic relief in a series that's dragged itself along for far too long is not the shrewdest business move. According to Forbes, keeping Johnny Depp in the next instalment of Pirates Of The Caribbean would have cost Disney $90 million. Although Disney is certainly not hurting for money, it seems they also have an eye on quality as they continue to expand their brand and take over the entertainment world.
They've hired the writers of Deadpool, Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese for the new film, in the hopes that it will give the dusty old franchise new life. Disney's chief of film production, Sean Bailey, explained the rationale behind the hiring and firing: “we want to bring in a new energy and vitality. I love the [Pirates] movies, but part of the reason Paul and Rhett are so interesting is that we want to give it a kick in the pants.”
The loss of a $90 million dollar paycheque will also certainly be a kick in the pants for Depp, even though he's probably got enough money to last him lifetimes and to pay enough lawyers to beat an infinite amount of domestic assault accusations.